North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Sam Hempen, Senior

Sam Hempen
Senior Photo for Orchestra

What is your name and grade? I am Sam Hempen, I’m a senior at Niles North High School.

What’s your story? I am a musician, I run cross-country and track, I produce my own music, and I do photography. At first, I used to have a lot of musical instruments as a kid, and my parents are both musicians. It sort of was in the family and in late 2018 I started producing my own music. It just stuck with me all these years.

How did music for you start in high school? In high school–my freshman year–I started a guitar class, and that’s when Mrs. Paige, the guitar [and] orchestra teacher, wanted me to join orchestra. So, my mom convinced me to join in my sophomore year. I took a bunch of lessons on the bass. And that’s basically what I’ve been doing ever since.

What kind of music do you make and what genre/style is it? I used to make more instrumental-like lofi stuff, but now I’m making sort of singer-songwriter or more indie-type music, but it’s pretty calm. I usually like to add a lot of natural, background sound ambiance in my music, it is a unique signature that I add.

What inspires you to create music? Mainly the lyrics I write and the songs are based [on] just my emotions. I write to cope with the hard things in my life, like an escape. 

What do you use to create your music? I use Ableton Live 10 which I got as a graduation present during eighth grade and it works really well.

What do you do besides music? This year I took a photography class, so I’ve been getting super into that. I’ve always been taking photos on my phone, trying to find angles in creative ways, but it’s gotten a lot bigger now that I have a camera.

Are you involved in any sports? A big commitment that I have at school is running cross-country and track. I’ve just found the sport to be something that is like a lifestyle. It’s something I want to continue until I’m dead, basically. I’m very committed to that [as well as] school.

What do you like about track and cross country? I’d say mainly I just like feeling proud or accomplished. Doing something really hard and putting [in] all that time and effort is something that you’re just really proud of and it’s also just like a great way to stay healthy. It’s the easiest sport to learn and  also the cheapest. You can make a lot of friends in it too.

What defines you as an artist, what are your values as an artist, and what are you trying to achieve through your art? I try to create music that speaks. It’s just very personal…and just like raw emotion. It’s something that helps me as I listen to it. But I also want to help other people who might be going through the same experiences as me. And I just wanted to be like something you’d come back to.

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About the Contributor
Ivan Shalaev
Ivan Shalaev, Reporter
Ivan is a senior at Niles North. Ivan is a part of six music ensembles at school and is also involved in theater.

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